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"Stigma against HIV/AIDs still an issue in Namibia", Bernhard Haufiku

By: Josia Shigwedha

Former Health Minister and presidential advisor, Bernhard Haufiku has expressed concern with the fact that many people living with HIV/AIDs still face stigmatisation and discrimination in the country.

Haufiku was speaking at an event held in Goreangab, Windhoek on Saturday that brought together stakeholders and activists to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination.

Haufiku referred to a study conducted by the City of Windhoek in 2021 which found that 54 percent of persons living with HIV/AIDs still face stigma and discrimination at the workplace.

The City of Windhoek confirmed the study, stating that an internal drive took place and that the results were released last year in March.

"I think this is not something unique to the City of Windhoek. It's just a yardstick of what it really is in terms of stigma and discrimination in the country. It is in the private sector, I believe in government and in all sorts of organisations. I think stigma and discrimination is still an issue that is more at personal and community level," said Haufiku.

News on One spoke to Immanuel Sheefeni, the founder of the Immanuel Sheefeni AIDS Foundation (ISAF) which was established a decade ago to create awareness in the community on HIV/AIDs.

He shared the sentiments of Haufiku, and highlighted the importance of initiatives that create awareness on HIV/AIDs.

"The stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS is still high and that is why we should keep on fighting by creating awareness, because If we don't do this a lot of people are going to be infected, a lot of people are going to drop taking their pills and that is too risky for the country as a whole," Sheefeni said.

Among the speakers at the event was activist Emma Tuahepa who came all the way from Grootfontein.

Tuahepa, who shared her story, has been living with HIV/AIDS for nearly three decades.

The event was followed by a soccer tournament, and the organiser Immanuel Sheefeni said it will become an annual event.



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